Thursday, 24 July 2014

Absinthe at Bar Marsella in Barcelona

It is sometimes hard to define charm. In old novels, people call women charming when they aren't beautiful or smart, but still have a certain draw, despite all their imperfections. Charm seems to be attraction against your better judgement.

If that's the case, then Bar Marsella in Barcelona is the ultimate 'charming' bar. On paper it's a paint peeling, tobacco stained tourist trap selling rip off absinthe and sugar cubes to exchange students and Hemmingway fans. On paper, it's not a place I bothered to visit the first four times I came to Barcelona. But this year I did visit and the charm got me:

 



More about Bar Marsella in the New York Times.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Artist Textiles - Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey Street

There is something compelling about repeat pattern.  If you agree, the current exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street on artist-designed textiles is a treat, whether you are an art lover, a fashion follower or both.

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A super-cute Zandra Rhodes lipstick print dress









Amazing Andy Warhol ice cream print - designed for a friend's restaurant!




Picasso lounge suit, perfect for the 70s society hostess


Picasso sun dress
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Monday, 31 March 2014

Decorating inspiration from Graceland

Our visit to Memphis included many awesome experiences. Visiting Graceland was always on the list (how could it not be) but none of our group are bona fide Elvis fans so it felt like a little bit of a tick box thing. Especially as we did it an hour after a visit to the Full Gospel Tabernacle where we heard Al Green sing a bit of 'I'm so tired of being alone'. But more on that later...
 

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Graceland turned out to be a pretty special place, the highlight being the outrageous interior decor which was oddly inspiring. I wonder if a terrace house in Croydon would look good with a jungle room? I also now want a bar in every room and a triple TV media lounge. In yellow and navy blue, of course.

Check out the photos below...


Kitchen





Jungle Room*

*Yup, like in the Cher song





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Television Room





Billiard Room



 Dining room and lounge



Sunday, 30 March 2014

Maltby Street Market and LASSCO Ropewalk

These are some photos taken during a quick walk around Maltby Street Market on Saturday. The place is getting so popular and there are better stalls every time we come. (Pro-tip: have a lie-in, go late and get BOGOF bread from the lovely people at Comptoir Gourmand).



We also visited LASSCO Ropewalk for the first time. This is the latest outlet of the famous salvage company. The Bermondsey shop is a bit of a wonderland of old school furniture (including some desks with very rude graffiti on them), old flag, baths and doorknobs. I'm not making it sound as good as it is, so I should also mention that it has a secret room where you can listen to live jazz and take swing dance lessons. The whole shops reminds me of a more practical version of the legendary antique shop, Uncommon Objects in Austin, Texas. I have a feeling that I'll be spending a lot of any available disposable income here once I move into out new house.





 I also spotted this aggressively hip collection of novelty pigs.



After walking around for a while and eating a lot of bread, we were tired and in need of feeding. So we swooped in on Pizza Lupa London Bridge for their little known collection-only offer (17 inches of pizza for less than £12). We then consumed this in a park with beers. Fine holiday fun!

Under the Skin

Under-the-Skin-Official-UK-Poster

We saw Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer's new film, last night. It is a slow burn but very inventive and disturbing. It will really stay with you, especially the incredibly cold-hearted scene involving a family on a beach and the last five minutes of the film, when you finally get a hint of what is going on/under the skin of Scarlett Johansson's character.

I'm not much of a Johansson fan, but what I've heard called her 'detached cool' works well in this film. The sequences when she is trying to charm Glaswegian men into her car are a bit like You've Been Framed. The fake English accent she puts on and TV presenter charm are as alien as if she had grey skin and an ET neck. It all works against the background of Sauciehall Street and gangs of pre-teen neds perfectly.

 The other big draws to this film are Adam Pearson (a fellow Croydoner) a disfigured man who is preyed on by Johannson but ends up inadvertently triggering a switch in her journey. Also the eerie soundtrack by Mica Levi.

This film is a brutal Kubrick, Lynch, Morvern Callar type mixture. Watch it!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cinema Sunday: Martin Scorsese's 'After Hours' (1985)

Cinema Sunday is where I share shots from movies that I think are good and everyone else should see. Bonus points if they have good costumes and set design. Them's the rules.

Martin Scorsese's 1985 film, After Hours, isn't that well known but is worth getting to know. It is a funny, malevolent story of a fresh faced NY word processor (apparently that was a job once) who goes out into Soho looking for a little action and ends up being persecuted by a selection of misfits, burglars and crazy ladies. Every offer of help in getting back uptown and home turns into another danger.  One surreal thing after another happens to this poor yuppie. He also leaves a trail of destruction in his wake; a selection of blondes, bartenders and burglars who are out of pocket, locked out or out cold.

The 'hero' Paul, reminds me a lot of the main character from the Coen Brothers' new film, Inside Llewyn Davies, only in that they are both slightly charming but quite unpleasant guys who get put through ordeals that you might not feel entirely sorry about.

If a twisted story about 80s New York isn't enough to tempt you, then you should know that After Hours is very enjoyable just for its style, from 80s office life to the kooky studio apartments and lofts of the women Paul meets along the way.  Click below for more pictures or watch the trailer here.

After Hours

Monday, 3 February 2014

Jad Grill - Lebanese food on Tower Bridge Road

Figuring out the best neighbourhood takeaway should always be priority number one when moving to a new area.  When we moved to Tower Bridge Road three years ago we embarked on a mini-crusade to find the best Chinese, Indian and pizza within walking distance.  Since that first flush of excitement we've really gotten quite lazy and keep hanging around the same places, so as we were on our way back from drinks in Peckham the other evening and nothing else was open, we thought we'd finally pay a visit to Jad, a Lebanese takeaway/restaurant just opposite our flat.

If only we'd done it years ago! For £7.50 each we got foot-long, charcoal grilled lamb flatbreads, about the weight and warmth of a cat. They contained succulent lamb (and lots of it), hummus, salad, pickles and garlic sauce all in a home made flat bread.  Just what you want after a night out.


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Thank god we were close enough to home to take them inside and eat them on plates. I wouldn't want to tackle one of these babies while walking.

We didn't stay in and eat, but you can, and there was a really nice atmosphere even late on a Saturday night. A couple of kids were sitting down to lamb and rice, the proprietor's daughter was sitting with her friend and alternating a good chat with popping up to answer the phone and make sure everyone had everything they wanted.

I'll definitely be back for a sit down meal and some mint tea.

Jad Grill
88 Towerbridge Road, London SE1
(020) 3620 8347
@jadgrill
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